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The Hand That Trembles: A Mystery (Ann Lindell Mysteries) Hardcover – August 2, 2011

3.8 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Kjell Eriksson

“The disappearance of a small-town politician masks dark secrets and triggers a series of further crimes… A challenging and rewarding mystery.”
--Kirkus Reviews

“Stunning, haunting…can chill you to the bone.”—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review on The Princess of Burundi

 “Riveting in tone and spirit. . . resembles the books of Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, not to mention those of the modern master Henning Mankell.”—The Wall Street Journal on The Princess of Burundi

 “A brilliant, haunting work of psychological obsession.”--The Globe and Mail on The Cruel Stars of the Night

 “Reminiscent of Ruth Rendell. As insightful and intelligent as it is engrossing.”--Library Journal on The Cruel Stars of the Night

 “Ingenious…Very satisfying.” --Los Angeles Times on The Princess of Burundi

About the Author

KJELL ERIKSSON is the author of the internationally acclaimed The Princess of Burundi, The Cruel Stars of the Night, and The Demon of Dakar. His series debut won Best First Novel 1999 by the Swedish Crime Academy, an accomplishment he later followed up by winning Best Swedish Crime Novel 2002 for The Princess of Burundi. The Hand That Trembles is his fourth novel in the series; he lives in Sweden.

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Product Details

  • Series: Ann Lindell Mysteries (Book 4)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; 1st edition (August 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312605056
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312605056
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,200,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Librarian VINE VOICE on August 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
When Sven-Arne Persson--a leader in Uppsala, Sweden's city politics--walked out of a council meeting and disappeared twelve years ago, people generally believed he had committed suicide even though no body was ever found. But twelve years later Jan Svensk, on a business trip to India from Uppsala, has no doubt whatsoever that the man he passed in the street and saw later at a restaurant is, indeed, "the county commissioner who went up in smoke." And, when Sven-Arne recognizes his former Uppsala neighbor, he knows that his simple, peaceful life as an illegal alien in India has ended. Meanwhile, back in Uppsala, Detective Ann Lindell announces to a hospitalized Detective Berglund, "A foot has washed ashore outside Öregrund." Just a foot in a boot--no body.

As the fourth title in the Ann Lindell series, Kjell Eriksson's "The Hand That Trembles" does not begin as a mystery. Rather, Eriksson begins his complex plot in 1956 by describing how as a boy Sven-Arne came to identify with his Uncle Ante, a man changed forever by his experience fighting the fascists in Spain. The narrative then jumps briefly to 1993, then 2005 with Sven-Arne living a laborer's life in Bangalore, India. When Detective Lindell enters the narrative, however, the past and present begin to coalesce into the familiar rhythms of the police procedural. Lindell, a single mother, reluctantly agrees to investigate the severed foot found in Öregrund, even though the location is painfully close to where her former lover still resides. The investigation leads her to the small, isolated community on Bultudden Point where three bachelors, each living alone, appear the most likely suspects.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Now that I've read all 4 English translations of Eriksson's novels, I must say the last was a big disappointment. I was enthusiasticly looking forward to the Hand That Trembles since I loved the previous 3 novels. This one did not live up to the others. It appeared disjointed to me and the separate stories did not flow like in the previous novels. Ann Lindell was not as prominent a character as previously, and she appears to be losing some of her enthusiasm for the job. She was not as likeable in this story. Others took the center stage, and quite frankly, the other characters are not likeable at all. I didn't really care what happened to them since I had no emotional connection with them. Everything about this book fell short. I was sorely disappointed.
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Format: Hardcover
THE HAND THAT TREMBLES is three stories that merge into one statement about society and the ties that hold people to a communal past as well as a personal one.

Sven-Arne Persson is a married man, a county commissioner, an active member of the Socialist party. One day, he leaves a high level meeting and disappears. Twelve years later, he is recognized by another Swede who sees him in the streets of Bangalore, India.

Detective Ann Lindell is given the responsibility of investigating the circumstances of a foot, in a sandal, that washed up on the beach.

Ann's superior, Berglund is recuperating from the successful removal of a brain tumor. He eagerly devotes his recuperation time to review all the evidence and interviews that were conducted when Nils Gottfied Dufva, an elderly man in a wheelchair, was found beaten to death in 1993. Berglund was a patrol constable at the time but he feels a responsibility to the victim in this cold case.

From these points, the story winds back and forth through decades and continents. Arne Persson, Sven-Arne's uncle, is a mighty force in his nephew's life and in the life of the community. Sven-Arne is a committed member of the Socialist party; Arne is red to the soul, a Communist who went to Spain to defeat the emerging Fascist government led by Francisco Franco. Arne is an old man but in full control of his intelligence and his memories. As his time on earth is drawing to a close, Arne is haunted by some of those moments.

As Ann Lindell tries to discover the identity of the woman who was dismembered, she finds herself interviewing the residents of a small community, the people who live on the "avenue" in the section of town called Bultudden.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like the rest of Eriksson's Ann Lindell series, this one starts slow but builds powerfully. The descriptions of nature are compelling, as is the characterization -- various characters who play essentially the same role are sharply differentiated. Not recommended for those who look for a compulsive read from page one of a crime novel, but very good for those who like to watch things unfold gradually.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read four of this author's books, all with Ann Lindell--and I am about to order a fifth one. She's a terrific character, a single mom whose deductive powers always surprise you. She does not think in a straight line. One complaint I have in all of the books, including "The Hand That Trembles," is that Eriksson always starts out very slowly with disparate minor characters and situations, and not until nearly a quarter of the way through the book do situations and people come together. So, if you are an impatient reader, or one who reads the trade book mysteries, or who does not appreciate a complex character, these books are not for you. I find that I have to go back and look up minor characters sometimes, and that is not easy to do on a Kindle. If you have this problem, I suggest you buy a book. In the end, I like Eriksson's books because they're longer than the average police/mystery books, and because the locale, Sweden, and the culture, are not familiar (except from Bergman movies and nobody would confuse these books with the master's movies). Lindell's problems as a single mom come up, as does the torch she carries for a former lover, but they never interfere with her police work, her wry comments about her colleagues, and her relationship with a veteran police officer and father figure.
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